» Posts Tagged ‘screenwriting’

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Film Independent Screenwriters LabAre you a screenwriter living in Los Angeles? Do you have a finished screenplay that could use feedback from professional screenwriters to get it into top shape? Then you should consider applying to the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab. Fellows in this 5-week program meet twice a week in September and October to get feedback on their scripts from a Lab Mentor, outside advisors and other Fellows. So, if you meet the criteria above, make sure to get your application into Film Independent by May 5, 2014. Check out more details about the fellowship and online application process below. More »

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BAFTAHeroes are fallible. Even superheroes must have their faults and weaknesses, and the screenwriters behind some of the most memorable portrayals of comic book heroes and real life heroes in recent years are certainly far from perfect. Yet, two long-time screenwriters, David S. Goyer and Susannah Grant, have both battled failures as writers to give us memorable scripts with complex heroes, whether pulled from comic books or ripped from the headlines. Thanks to the BAFTA Screenwriter Lecture series, both Goyer and Grant share their experiences as screenwriters with the rest of us so we can learn how to overcome our own obstacles to create memorable film heroes. More »

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Richard LinkaterRichard Linklater is a DIY filmmaker hero for many reasons. He’s self-taught, completely obsessed with cinema and making films, and his approach to telling stories is one that I think many can relate to. And if you were just thinking about what an experience it would be to actually be able to sit in a room and pick his brain about all of this, you’re in luck. Linklater answers a bunch of questions from a small group of folks for one of Fox Searchlight’s Searchlab lectures, which gives us an inside look into how the director goes about writing screenplays, rehearsing with actors, and working on-set. More »

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Periodic TableAttention everyone: We have found it. We have found the Holy Grail of online screenwriting/storytelling resources. If you’re a screenwriter and/or a complete glutton for geeking out, you need to stop what you’re doing immediately and check out Design Through Storytelling’s Periodic Table of Storytelling, which — is exactly what it sounds like — a collection of story tropes organized by purpose and name, all of which are clickable links that take you to their own TV Tropes wiki page. More »

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Academy Nicholl Fellowships in ScreenwritingFor screenwriters planning to submit to the Academy Nicholl Fellowships this year, the clock is ticking. In fact, if you plan to take advantage of the Regular Deadline submission fee, you only have until this Thursday, Apr. 10 at 5 pm PT to submit your screenplay. So don’t wait until 11:59 pm PT on Apr. 10, or you’ll discover those few extra hours just cost you fifteen extra bucks. Check out the details on how to submit your screenplay and the current data from this year’s competition below. More »

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TypewriterA screenplay is a puzzle made up of pieces you cut yourself that you fit together to form a picture you make up as you go. And if a screenplay is a puzzle, think of genre as the box it came in. It has to be accommodating and accurate to the structure and picture of the story, otherwise, you make it hard on your audience. In an enlightening article, Raindance lists 10 techniques that sell scripts, 8 of which has something to do with genre. So, let’s take a look at genre from the perspective of both a buyer and a screenwriter, figure out how it can help or hinder your story, and finally, ways to add or change characteristics of your chosen genre in order to not only write a story that is fresh and original, but one that works well with audiences. More »

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Michael ArndtSome of the greatest pieces of screenwriting wisdom that I’ve come across in my journey of learning the craft have come from Pixar alumni. Regardless of what kinds of stories you’re trying to tell, Pixar has offered many great tips on how to form the structure of your screenplay, and in this animated video, screenwriter Michael Arndt walks us through, step-by-step, how to construct the most difficult first act. So, if you’re currently struggling to get your screenplay off the ground, you’re gonna want to check this out! More »

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Comedy ContestIf you’re currently working on a comedy script, now might be the time to put your head down get that baby done, because ScreenCraft’s 2014 Comedy Script Contest is now officially open for early entries. This year is a little special, in that they’ve opened it up to short screenplay entries, as well as included some major comedy producers and execs (Funny or Die, Happy Madison) on the jury. So, if you’re itching to get your screenplay in front of some people who could potentially get you some exposure, continue on to find out how to enter. More »

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BeethovenIt’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, allowing our creative endeavors to go by the wayside indefinitely until we can work them into our schedules. But it’s interesting to remember that every single one of our creative heroes all have (or had) the same number of hours in a day to complete their work. RJ Andrews of Info We Trust has put together an enlightening infographic using the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work that illustrates how some of history’s greatest creative minds fit their creative work into their daily life. More »

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David O Russell American Hustle DirectingWhile David O. Russell and American Hustle were nominated for 10 Academy Awards, they came home empty-handed on Oscar night. Most of those involved with the film are no stranger to nominations, but it’s the work involved that gets them even remotely near the statuettes in the first place. In this terrific behind the scenes video for American Hustle, learn how David O. Russell and the rest of the crew approached their work on the film, and what it takes to put together a movie of this caliber. More »

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Richard Kelly Austin Film Festival Donnie Darko Script to Screen 3
For me, Donnie Darko is one of those films that needs to be found. Its Sundance premiere didn’t exactly set off fireworks and its subsequent theatrical release in the U.S. in the fall of 2001 was quiet. Thanks to DVD (and a healthy theatrical debut in the UK), though, many people did eventually find this debut feature film from writer/director Richard Kelly, turning it into a cult classic. But even after watching the film, you feel like you are still discovering exactly what Donnie Darko is. So, you turn to the Director’s Cut to find more. For me, I did find more — more questions and even more intriguing themes. Thankfully, all these years later, I had the good fortune to spend almost two hours in conversation with Kelly, watching clips from both the original and director’s cut of Donnie Darko, in front of a live audience during a Script-to-Screen panel at the 20th Austin Film Festival & Conference. Here are just a few of the lessons we learned from Kelly about his experiences with his enigmatic first feature. More »

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Akira Kurosawa(Answer: Everything!) Akira Kurosawa is in a league of his own. To master filmmakers, like Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Oliver Stone, he was the teacher, and often shared his knowledge with those who asked. Flavorwire has published a few pieces of said knowledge in the form of Kurosawa’s greatest filmmaking quotes — ones that beautifully answer questions about the craft, advise us on storytelling, and remind us why we fell in love with cinema in the first place. More »

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Episodic_1VOD platforms are beginning to change everything about the creation and consumption of TV shows and movies, with one of the big changes being the sheer amount of media audiences are wanting to consume in a single binge. “TV” shows are making out like bandits, attracting more and more filmmakers to work in the world of “television”, and the Sundance Institute wants to lend a hand to them with their newly announced Episodic Story Lab, which will teach writers how to develop stories and characters that grow and develop over the course of a series. More »

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WriterDuet Outliner 1Note cards and cork boards may be the most ubiquitous outlining tools among screenwriters. Together, they’re simple, they’re visual, they’re movable. In short, they work. Now, what if you collaborate with another screenwriter in another time zone? Or even just on the other side of town? How’s that note card covered cork board working for your collaboration? Maybe you like to work on your own in the coffee shop down the street. I bet everybody loves it when you drag your cork board through the door. Now, thanks to WriterDuet, the online collaborative screenwriting app, we have an intuitive outlining tool that you can share in real-time with your writing partner — or use solo, if that’s how you write. And WriterDuet is still free. More »

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AmtrakWell, it has happened — and much sooner than expected. Less than a month ago, writers Zach Seward and Jessica Gross made a passing comment on Twitter expressing their desire for Amtrak to start offering residencies for writers, and after a couple of test runs and ironing out of details, the railroad service is now accepting applications into their #AmtrakResidency program! What does a residency entail? A long distance roundtrip ride on one of Amtrak’s many trains for the sole purpose of writing — for free! That’s it. Sound like a dream come true? Once you learn the details, you’ll find that, yes, indeed it is. More »

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Veronica Mars movie Rob Thomas OnStory Austin Film FestivalExactly one year and a day since launching the Kickstarter campaign that raised $2 million in twelve hours and ultimately raised over $5.7 million in 30 days, the Veronica Mars movie hits the big screen day-and-date with its VOD digital distribution. While Veronica Mars changed who uses Kickstarter to fund films and introduced many new people to the crowdfunding platform, series creator and film writer/director Rob Thomas explains that this movie simply would not have happened without the crowdfunding support of its ardent fans. Now with the film’s release, OnStory TV from Austin Film Festival provides an in-depth interview with Thomas to learn how he, Kristen Bell, and their collaborators solved the mystery of how to make the Veronica Mars movie. More »

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BooksIf you have ever written a screenplay before, or are in the process of writing one, chances are you’ve put in your fair share of research into the world you’re reproducing on the page. Research — is no joke. More often than not, a screenplay is going to require many weeks, if not months of fact-wrangling and study to turn you into the pseudo-expert you need to be to aptly tell your story. Lucky for us, Raindance has shared a bunch of tips on how to approach this sometimes tedious, but vital step in the screenwriting process. More »

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Taxi DriverStudying films, whether they’re poorly or masterfully made, is one of the greatest ways you can educate yourself about how (not) to make a film. Martin Scorsese’s masterfully made Taxi Driver has been studied time and time again by experts, students, and enthusiasts, but in this 1999 documentary about the making of the film, we get to hear from the filmmakers themselves, including Scorsese, screenwriter Paul Schrader, DP Michael Chapman, editor Tom Rolf, the cast, and even legendary makeup artist Dick Smith, who explain in great detail how Taxi Driver came to be. Continue on for a few key takeaways from the doc. More »

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Jack LemmonActor Jack Lemmon offered his talent in some of the most iconic comedies in cinematic history, including Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and of course, The Odd Couple. Needless to say, he acquired a wealth of wisdom in a career that spanned over half a century, and now thanks to filmschoolthrucommentaries, we get to listen in as Lemmon shares some great insight into one of his most compelling, dramatic roles, Shelley Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross, as well as what it was like working with the film’s writer, David Mamet. More »

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CreativityIf you’re a creative person, you might’ve wondered, perhaps especially in your youth, what the hell was wrong with you. Maybe you were the “weird” kid in class that was always looking out the window, or maybe you were teased for your bizarre taste in clothes. We’ve all been there — it kind of goes with the territory if you’re creative, and according to this article from the Huffington Post, many of us do a lot of the same things because we’re creative. Continue on for a scientific look at things highly creative people do — learn a little bit more about yourself, as well as get inspired to try something new. More »